21 Jul 2014

Anything but water

  1. If you want a great introduction to institutions (the ones that determine the difference between economic development and stagnation, for example), then read this 1991 paper [pdf] by Douglass North, Nobel Laureate

  2. I'm happy to find that Simon Kuznets (inventor of GDP)...
    ...was inclined to include only activities he believed contributed to society’s wellbeing. Why count things like spending on armaments, he reasoned, when war clearly detracted from human welfare? He also wanted to subtract advertising (useless), financial and speculative activities (dangerous) and government spending (tautological, since it was just recycled taxes). Presumably he wouldn’t have been thrilled with the idea that the more heroin consumed and prostitutes visited, the healthier an economy. [Unfortunately,] Kuznets lost his battle. Modern national income accounts include both arms sales and investment banking services.
    It's sad that his fears of distortions came true, as I described in "Economists owe ecology an apology"

  3. Read this very insightful article on monopoly regulation. The earliest laws encouraged diversity and competition. Later laws "harnessed" the efficiency of monopolies... until the monopolies took over politicians, regulators and markets. Too bad for the US

  4. Best way to invest $1? Read these deep -- and shallow -- responses

  5. Read this interview with a 15 year old who's been to Burning Man 12 times:
    What about the people who say that Burning Man is not as cool as it used to be?
    A: There’s a lot more people recently who have been going just for the party, and not for the art. It’s an ART FESTIVAL. If you just come to party and get wasted, that’s not what Burning Man is about. If you’re seeing it as a big party … it sort of is, but it’s an ART party. It’s not just for coming to drink.

    Is there anything else you’d want to say to people attending Burning Man?
    A: Take risks. Don’t take BIG risks, but take … a good amount of risks. If you’re going to go to Burning Man, be open-minded. Push your boundaries. If you’re not comfortable with something, try it anyway. Explore, experiment, try new things. Get to know yourself.

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